At the CPHI & PMEC India 2023 exhibition, UFlex Packaging Films Business exhibited its Alu-Alu foil with numerous value additions. Since UFlex’s inception in 1985, it has been a prominent player in flexible packaging, particularly gaining traction in the pharmaceutical sector since 2017.
Amit Shah, joint president and chief marketing officer, Flexible Packaging Business at UFlex, explained the company’s strategic move into pharmaceutical packaging, emphasizing the identification of an underserved segment within the expansive pharmaceutical industry. “As a bellwether in the industry, UFlex stands out due to its broad customer base and product range, spanning from 1-gram sachets to 30-kilo products.” He further elaborated on the company’s commitment to brand protection, sustainability, and innovation (SBI) as the core elements of its distinctive value proposition.
Shah discussed the strategic decision to manufacture Alu-Alu foil enriched with various value-added features, with a primary focus on incorporating anti-counterfeit features. UFlex’s approach centers on enhancing the intrinsic value of its Alu-Alu product, aligning seamlessly with the SBI philosophy.
“Our strategic approach excludes the conventional formats of blister and strip packaging. However, should a customer express the need for a security solution within these formats, we are equipped to tailor our offerings accordingly,” Shah said.
Balancing exclusivity and market adoption
In the pharmaceutical segment, UFlex’s primary emphasis is on security, particularly in terms of brand protection and innovation. Shah highlighted a patented PVC-free product in their portfolio, a polyester-based cold-formed laminate with a patent in place for about 3-4 years. Despite initial customer hesitation due to the exclusivity provided by the patent, Shah underlined the product as a sustainable alternative to the use of PVC in the future.
“It’s worth noting that PVC, although currently not facing significant environmental pressure in the pharmaceutical industry, may come under scrutiny in the future. Our patented product offers a sustainable alternative readily available for adoption.”
Addressing the complexities of applying holograms to foil, Shah revealed it as a closely guarded trade secret. He emphasized that overcoming the challenge of holographic features surviving the thermoforming process sets a significant bar for others in the industry, showcasing the uniqueness and readiness of UFlex’s product for the market.
Prioritizing value and innovation over price
Shah noted that, in the realm of packaging solutions, UFlex has not only developed a competitive product but has also made it attractive from a pricing perspective.
Shah expressed the company’s commitment to elevating industry standards and challenging the status quo through innovations and technology investments. He stressed the importance of educating the industry about the untapped potential in the pharmaceutical packaging space and advocating for a shift away from a sole focus on pricing.
“In the pharmaceutical sector, we advocate for a shift away from a sole focus on pricing. Instead, we encourage the industry to evaluate the value that suppliers bring. Our goal is to contribute to shaping an industry where value, innovation, and quality are recognized and prioritized over purely price-driven decisions,” Shah concluded.